Ufros aleynu sukkat shalom, shalom -- Spread over us wings of peace, shalom
Draw water in joy from the living well -- Draw water in joy from the living well
Mayim Chayim, Waters of Life, Shalom (Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield)
ושמחת בחגך והיית אך שמך
V'samachta b'chagecha v'hayyita ach sameach
You shall rejoice in your festival and be only joyous.
Rabbi Alan Lew, z''l, from This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared
...We sit flush with the world, in a ‘house’ that calls attention to the fact that it gives us no shelter. It is not really a house. It is the interrupted idea of a house, a parody of a house…
And it exposes the idea of a house as an illusion. The idea of a house is that it gives us security, shelter, haven from the storm. But no house can really offer us this. No building of wood and stone can ever afford us protection from the disorder that is always lurking all around us. No shell we put between us an the world can ever really keep us secure from it. And we know this. We never really believed this illusion. That’s why we never felt truly secure in it [...]
In the sukkah, a house that is open to the world, a house that freely acknowledges that it cannot be the basis of our security, we let go of this need. The illusion of protection falls away, and suddenly we are flush with our life, feeling our life, following our life, doing its dance, one step after another.
Take good care that your own mind not flee you. I mean the thoughts of your own better self. Just as you guard your money or possessions, making sure no one runs off with them when you are turned away, be even more careful to do the same with your mind, the one you are using to serve God. The best guard is joy to be happy always over the mitzvot you are doing and have done already. The sages spoke of one " who does not stop smiling all day (Brachot 9b)," when he was doing mitzvot. A person who gets to go to the royal palace should be very happy. How much more so if it is the palace of the Divine Ruler. [Each mitzvah is such a palace.] If you rejoice in the mitzvot... you can partake also of this worldly joys...without having your head turned by them. (Liqqutey RaMaL, Breishit, trans. by Rabbi Arthur Green)
Zohar Emor 103b
When people sit in a sukkah, the "shade of faithfulness" -- the shekhinah [the indwelling, feminine divine manifestation] -- spreads Her wings over them and... Abraham, five other righteous ones, and King David make their dwelling with them. And so, people should rejoice with shining countenance every day of the festival, together with these guests [ushpizin] who lodge with them... And we must gladden the poor, for the portion of the guests [one] invite[s] comes from the enjoyment felt by the poor when they eat.
Sefat Emet 5:182
The joy of the water- drawing place is one of the ceremonies of Sukkot. For it is from there, from joy, that we draw the holy spirit. Joy is the vessel with which we draw the living waters, the holy spirit, of which it is says: "[God] blew into his nostrils the breath of life" (Gen 2:7). As a person holds fast to the lifeforce that each of us has from God, life spreads forth through all of her limbs.
It says [of these festive days]: "We saw no sleep." The Midrash says the same of Moses, that for forty days and nights he was unable to sleep, knowing there was no measure to that which he was receiving in every hour... The light of the entire year depends upon these seven days [of Sukkot]. And the vessel through which we receive that light is joy.
Rabbi Alan Lew, z''l, from This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared
And when we speak of joy here, we are not speaking of fun. Joy is a deep release of the soul, and it includes death and pain. Joy is any feeling fully felt, any experience we give our whole being to. We are conditioned to choose pleasure and to reject pain, but the truth is, any moment of our life fully inhabited, any feeling fully felt, any immersion in the full depth of life, can be the source of deep joy.”
Sefat Emet, Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Lieb of Ger 5:181
"Take unto yourselves the fruit of the goodly tree." (Lev 23:40) On Sukkot God draws Israel near, as it says, "[God] spreads forth a sukkah of peace." [God] protects us as [God's] own children. Israel, too, want to be attached to God; they seek to do good deeds so that it not be God's grace alone that helps them. This is the meaning of "Take unto yourselves"- of your own accord.
Scripture also says: "Tell me the way to live, to be sated with joy in Your presence" (Ps. 16:11). Lulav is numerically equal to hayyim (life); Israel desire the true life of their inner selves. this is what it means to be "sated with joy"- the more deeply you take life into your heart, the more you are sated. This happens through the lulav and the species that accompany it. Israel actually point to God, taking in the light of the sukkah, which is given to them as a gift. When the king invites guests, he gives them what their heart desires. "Whoever invites someone does so with the intent that they eat and drink."
That is why God says to us: "Take unto yourselves," meaning that we should choose life for ourselves. On Sukkot all Israel are granted awareness, as it says: "So that all your generations be aware..." (Lev. 23:43). Awareness for the whole year comes about on Sukkot, the last of the three "legs" on which the year stands....the lulav- species represent the awareness that Israel receive and take into the depths of their hearts.
by Mary Oliver
I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight,
that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light.
It is what I was born for—
to look, to listen, to lose myself
inside this soft world—
to instruct myself over and over in joy, and acclamation.
Nor am I talking about the exceptional, the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant—
but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar, I say to myself,
how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these—
the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made out of grass?
Rumi, "The Guest House" trans. Coleman Barks
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם
V'asu li mikdash v'shochanti b'tocham
Yah prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
And with thanksgiving
I'll be a living sanctuary for you.
תלמוד בבלי מסכת סוכה דף כז עמוד ב
וחכמים אומרים: אף על פי שאמרו אין אדם יוצא ידי חובתו ביום טוב הראשון בלולבו של חבירו, אבל יוצא ידי חובתו בסוכתו של חבירו, דכתיב +ויקרא כג+ כל האזרח בישראל ישבו בסכת - מלמד שכל ישראל ראוים לישב בסוכה אחת.
The sages say “even though a person cannot exempt himself from his obligation of the four species on the first day of sukkot with a borrowed lulav and etrog, he may exempt himself from his obligation of sitting in a sukkah by using his friend’s sukkah. The basis for this is the verse that says “every citizen of Israel shall sit in sukkot”. This teaches us that all of Israel are fit to sit in one sukkah.